My story: Lucy

My job as a science teacher was going well until I moved schools. I thought the new job would provide valuable experience for me. Instead I suffered taunts and abuse from pupils because I am a lesbian. They called me degrading names and made homophobic comments. It was extremely distressing and traumatic.  

Going to senior management for help

I tried to deal with the pupils’ behaviour myself, but in the end I went to senior management for help. They didn’t seem to know what to do and were not helpful. I resigned because I could not cope with the abuse any more.

Making a harassment claim

I brought a claim for harassment on grounds of my sexual orientation. I was very apprehensive about the tribunal process because I knew I would have to give evidence about the pupils’ behaviour, including examples of what they had said. My lawyer warned me it would be stressful.

The settlement

My employer made me an offer of compensation to settle the case before it got to the tribunal hearing. My lawyer negotiated with my employer’s lawyers and we reached an agreement. Although I did not have my ‘day in court’, I decided I would rather forget about the litigation and move on.